HT GIFA football tournament is back in a bigger avatar | ht gifa | Hindustan Times
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HT GIFA football tournament is back in a bigger avatar

HT GIFA, the annual inter-locality football tournament for youngsters, is all set to return this year to the Delhi-NCR.

ht gifa Updated: Jul 14, 2017 22:02 IST
Akshay Kumar had inaugurated last year’s edition of the HT GIFA tournament.
Akshay Kumar had inaugurated last year’s edition of the HT GIFA tournament. (HT Photo)

With the Under-17 football World Cup set to be held in the country, 2017 is going to be a landmark year for Indian football. As the country prepares to celebrate the pinnacle of age-group football, young players from the Delhi-NCR is getting ready for the next edition of SARE Homes HT GIFA, the annual inter-locality football tournament.

The fourth instalment of SARE Homes HT GIFA will be bigger and better than the previous editions. The tournament has grown leaps and bounds since its inception in 2013.

From 51 teams in the first year, to 450 teams in the 2016 edition and over 2300 registrations, SARE Homes HT GIFA, which began as an avenue for promoting the game at the grassroots, has grown into a phenomenon, or rather, a movement where not just children, but parents, neighbours and whole societies join hands in celebrating and promoting the beautiful game.

It has evolved beyond neighbourhood rivalries to a platform which nurtures talent and promotes aspiring footballers in the region, preparing them for glory in the sport.

READ | HT GIFA: Breaking borders on the playing field

The 2017 edition of HT GIFA will follow the same format as last year. The tournament will be divided into various phases starting with the registration of teams in the two categories -- Junior (classes 5th-8th) and Senior (classes 9th-12th).

This will be followed by training matches, opening ceremony, the preliminary matches and final knock-outs.

KKolar, Noida Demons ready to defend crowns

K Kolar Sassy FC from Gurgaon, the 2016 senior champs, and Noida Demons, the junior top team, will be looking to come out all guns blazing trying to defend their crown in this year’s competition. The teams will have a big advantage as the players will be a notch above the rest this time around, thanks to the grand prize they won last year -- scholarships from the Arsenal Soccer School.

Both the teams received a prize money of Rs. 1 lakh each while the runners-up -- Vatika Football Academy (juniors) and Columban FC (seniors) received Rs. 50,000 each.

But beyond the prize money, it was the stage provided by GIFA that motivates the youngsters, who have already started training with their teams to become the best across Delhi, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida.

READ | The show begins and intense rivalries come to the fore

Last year’s tournament was testament to that. HT GIFA 2016 began with a grand opening ceremony where Bollywood star Akshay Kumar called out to parents to support their children who want to pursue sports.

The idea of sports bringing about a social change was best illustrated by the participation of a very special team, My Angel’s Academy, comprising of underprivileged children coached by Slyvester Peter, a man who aims to transform their lives through football.

The four-month tournament last year concluded with a grand ceremony on October 9 at tje CWG Village Sports Complex, where the champions -- K Kolar Sassy FC and Noida Demons -- were crowned.

2017 Registrations from July 15

The registrations for the 2017 edition of SARE Homes HT GIFA tournament will begin on July 15. Details about the registration process and the rules can be obtained from www.htgifa.hindustantimes.com.